Eli Brooks was only supposed to continue to be in Haiti for a couple of weeks. Like quite a few university college students, the mechanical engineering senior’s unique strategies for the summer months of 2020 ended up scrapped due to the pandemic. He had an possibility to volunteer at Have Faith Haiti Mission and Orphanage in Port-au-Prince for four months. As his month in Haiti was coming to a close, Brooks had a change of coronary heart many thanks to a persuasive toddler.
“People have been inquiring me to keep, and it is very difficult to say no to a three-calendar year old indicating ‘Mr. Eli, can you stay listed here and train me?’” recollects Brooks. He determined to choose a depart of absence from MIT throughout the drop 2020 semester and stayed in Haiti for five a lot more months.
The 6 months Brooks invested in Haiti would be transformative for both equally him and the little ones he labored with.
For approximately the entirety of his time at Have Faith Haiti, Brooks remained on the quarter acre plot of land. His bed room was in a modest creating in the center of the playground. The tiny place had no managing water or air conditioning, but Brooks was stunned by how rapidly the comforts he took for granted back again dwelling didn’t seem to make any difference.
“Within a number of times I recognized that whilst this is the toughest spot I will at any time stay, it is really also the happiest I have at any time been,” he adds.
When Brooks arrived at the orphanage, students had been isolated for six months thanks to Covid-19. With so a lot of immunocompromised youngsters, there were handful of visitors – building Brooks’ arrival all the much more fascinating.
At first, his function was comparable to a camp counselor. In the morning, he would set up obstacle courses for the youngsters and referee h2o balloon tosses. Through the afternoon, he’d educate youthful little ones how to examine and discuss guides with the more mature children. It was this expertise training that ignited a spark in Brooks.
“Once I started out instructing young children how to browse, I fell in really like with it. Which is when I made the decision to get on extra of a instructing job, and I assume that was the biggest final decision I have created, it’s possible ever,” he recalls.
Replicating MIT’s Toy Products Style and design class
Immediately after choosing to keep to train for five months, Brooks drew upon his activities in mechanical engineering classes at MIT. He observed an chance to replicate class 2.00b (Toy Products Design), when training middle college and superior faculty pupils. Presented to MIT’s initial-calendar year students each individual spring, the course introduces college students to product or service design and style and the product advancement process. By the stop of the semester, students present a performing prototype of a toy.
The very first fifty percent of the semester, Brooks taught college students essential, fingers-on engineering competencies. He utilized some of the slides formulated by Professor David Wallace and Lecturer Joshua Ramos for the class.
“It was wonderful to explain what engineering was to these young children and to see that they fell in like with it,” suggests Brooks.
For the second half of the semester, pupils pitched toy product or service tips. A great deal like in 2.00b, college students would start out with dozens of concepts, sketch out the ideas, and narrow it down to the top rated 3. They then designed prototypes for the more youthful little ones at the orphanage to examination out.
Although MIT pupils in 2.00b have obtain to equipment, electronics, and several products on campus, Brooks experienced to make the course get the job done with cardboard, paper, and glue sticks. These limited sources did not stifle students’ creativity.
Brooks was influenced by the prototypes college students created by the end of the semester. Projects involved a “Live Motion FIFA” soccer activity and “Mad Ball,” which resembled a regular pinball activity. The games had been so preferred, the youthful kids at the orphanage played them all through Brooks’ going away get together.
How to reside lifetime a better way
As his time in Haiti came to a near final winter season, Brooks mirrored on how existence-altering the experience was. When he to start with arrived in Port-au-Prince, he was battling with what he wished to do with his existence and grappling with his individual mental health and fitness and contentment.
Seeing how pleased the youngsters at Have Faith Haiti ended up with so couple materials items or the comforts he had grown accustomed to gave Brooks an training in joy.
“I consider likely there taught me a lot about how to be joyful and how to deal with psychological health,” he states. “These children have practically nothing and they have been happier than I was. I really uncovered just how to reside lifestyle a much better way.”
As he enters in remaining 12 months at MIT, Brooks is now exploring career paths in training. He not too long ago used to graduate university plans for a master’s in schooling with a specialization in teaching in the interior city.
Anywhere his job usually takes him, Brooks knows he will obtain a path back to Haiti sometime.
“There is no query I will go back again to pay a visit to, with any luck , someday shortly. These men and women grew to become my mates and relatives for 6 months, and the affect they had on my lifestyle cannot be overstated,” he adds.